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Any health concerns from importing from Japan?

#26
Thread was derailed already, so I feel safe to throw in here my post as well Wink .

I found the The Big Fat Surprise book about nutrition very interesting. 

While it's mainly about nutrition, it also shows what happens with genuine science when government get involved and one 'true' scientific consensus is enforced. Scientists with dissenting opinions are not threatened with burning at the stick like Galileo was, but it still can lead to no grants, prevented publishing and ruined career.
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#27
(2016-11-27, 11:57 pm)sholum Wrote: To achieve standardization, milk is processed through centrifugal separators to create a skim portion and a cream portion of the milk. Separation produces a skim portion that is less than 0.01% fat and a cream portion that is usually 40% fat, although the desired fat content of the cream portion can be controlled by changing settings on the separator. The cream portion is then added back to the skim portion to yield the desired fat content for the product.

Right. And you're saying that this process somehow makes the milk less healthy? How could it possibly? Nothing's added, nothing's removed, there's no temperature treatment that might change the chemical composition.

I was aware that whole milk and raw milk are different, I just assumed that by whole milk you mean raw milk...because I've never heard anyone argue that standardization could be bad for you. The only argument I've heard is against pasteurization.

(2016-11-27, 11:57 pm)sholum Wrote: While I haven't checked the numbers to be sure, based on taste alone, there seems to be more milkfat in the fancier milk than in the cheap milk; only thing I can go on is the smoother feel and butterier taste.
The more likely explanation for the better taste is that the expensive milk is sourced and standardized more carefully, to achieve a consistently good taste.

I find it very unlikely that anyone would "cheat" you out of fat content in milk.
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#28
(2016-11-28, 1:48 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote: Right. And you're saying that this process somehow makes the milk less healthy? How could it possibly? Nothing's added, nothing's removed, there's no temperature treatment that might change the chemical composition.

I was aware that whole milk and raw milk are different, I just assumed that by whole milk you mean raw milk...because I've never heard anyone argue that standardization could be bad for you. The only argument I've heard is against pasteurization.
That's why I said "if any"; I was going off of my unreliable memory of the claim that the proportion of fat to protein in the milk changes its impact on your health

(2016-11-28, 1:48 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote: The more likely explanation for the better taste is that the expensive milk is sourced and standardized more carefully, to achieve a consistently good taste.

I find it very unlikely that anyone would "cheat" you out of fat content in milk.
I find it very likely, assuming one thing: if your milk supply would yield product with a fat content greater than required, it would be stupid not to standardize it to the minimum requirement and use or sell the excess fat to produce cream or other products. Considering the 'fat is super bad for you!' fad has been waning for a while, my conspiracy theory is that this increased profitability is the only reason reduced fat milk products are still produced in such abundance and variety (and why the 'skim milk is better for you' story is still spouted).

You might be right about the reason for the difference in taste.
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JapanesePod101
#29
I think fat is still bad for you. At least my Doctor told me to lay off the fat on my last checkup. He didn't say anything specifically about milk fat, but milk fat is roughly half saturated fats and I do drink quite a bit of milk, so lowering the overall fat content makes sense.

The point that I was trying to make about whole milk is that anything can and does happen with an n of one in uncontrolled circumstances. My great grandmother lived to 104, but I'd rather make my health decisions based on large rigorous studies rather than how my great grandmother lived her life.
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#30
(2016-11-28, 6:11 pm)yogert909 Wrote: I think fat is still bad for you.  At least my Doctor told me to lay off the fat on my last checkup.  He didn't say anything specifically about milk fat, but milk fat is roughly half saturated fats and I do drink quite a bit of milk, so lowering the overall fat content makes sense.

The point that I was trying to make about whole milk is that anything can and does happen with an n of one in uncontrolled circumstances.  My great grandmother lived to 104, but I'd rather make my health decisions based on large rigorous studies rather than how my great grandmother lived her life.

Well, too much fat is surely bad for you, but on the other hand, fats are essential nutrients as well as fuel. There are some fatty acids that our bodies cannot build for themselves if we only eat sugars and starches.

Also, eating fats is very important to a sense of satiation. If you eat low-fat foods, it'll take more to feel full and you'll feel full for less time (the 'chinese food' effect - eat a big meal but feel hungry again an hour later. Compare to a meal at an indian restaurant or a french one, with rich cream-laden sauces where you'll often feel full for a very long time.) If your low-fat foods are fruits and veggies that might be fine if you go ahead and eat more, but if they are sugars and starches you can end up eating a ton of calories because you keep feeling hungry again too soon. (Of course fruits and veggies also contain sugars and starches, so even sticking to that there are limits and it depends on what fruits and veggies... root vegetables can be pretty starchy after all!)

Anyway, it's not that you can just eat all the fat in the world and be fine, it's that eating less fat is not always better. There's an amount of fat that is too little and an amount that is too much, and of course not all fats are equal.
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#31
Well, of course.  There are a lot of things that you need to survive that will kill you in excess.  Drinking too much water will kill you, but you'd have to drink many times the amount of water that anyone care to in order for it to become a health problem.  But there are a few things that most people in developed nations consume enough of naturally that it can cause health problems.  Fat, salt, sugar are what I'm thinking of.  When I said fat was bad for you, it was shorthand for "most people should watch their fat intake and consume less than they would otherwise".  I guess I should have been more precise.
Edited: 2016-11-28, 8:07 pm
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#32
Regarding fat, it's a really difficult area to understand (and we're far from it), since it covers such a wide range of substances. The recent claims are that only trans-fats (hydrogenated oils) are actively bad for you, regular saturated fats should be eaten in moderation, and you can basically eat as much unsaturated fat as you want (with mono-unsaturated fats being the most healthy).

However, that doesn't follow for every fat, since how it reacts to cooking changes how healthy it is to consume; coconut oil is considered one of the healthier options for cooking oil due to its absurdly high smoke point, but it's so dense in saturated fat that it's solid at room temperature.
And the tales of butter have been going on forever.

Regarding salt:
I found this interesting read back when a friend asked me if that pink Himalayan salt was actually better for you or not (it's not) the majority of the article is actually about research studying the links between sodium (and potassium) intake to heart pressure:
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/pas...yan-stuff/
Basically, unless you have hypertension, diabetes, etc., low salt intake isn't necessarily healthier (unless you're eating more than 6g per day) and might actually be bad for you if you're consuming less than 3g/day. Both sides of that are only correlations, though fairly well established ones, so the actual causes are still unclear

Regarding sugar (and other simple carbs):
This seems to be the main culprit when it comes to obesity in the US, because just about every bit of processed food has added sugar in it. Carbs aren't as satiating as other macro-nutrients, so added sugars increase the caloric content of the food without a similar impact to satiation.

Honestly, it seems the best course of action for healthy eating is to enjoy things in moderation and avoid heavily processed foods, since they are full of transfats, salt, and sugar in absurd quantities.

I almost posted that sugars were easier to digest than fats, so the caloric content doesn't tell the whole story, but I didn't know if the '4, 9, 4' estimates were the actual caloric content or the metabolizable energy content. Turns out, it's the latter, but the actual numbers vary based on the content of your diet. Here's an interesting read about energy absorption based on diet:
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/5/899S.full
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#33
Thanks for this Sholum.  You seem to actually know something about this rather than the rest of us pontificators.  I'm assuming you have some medical training...?  I'm wondering if you could share a few links to some sites with trustworthy health and nutrition information?  I'm not keen on reading too many academic papers, but if you know of sites that do a good job of digesting and organizing the most important research I would be very interested.  There's just so much garbage out there that it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

examine.com is one site that I like for researching supplements, but I'm not really into supplements beyond the daily vitamin.
Edited: 2016-11-29, 7:33 pm
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#34
I would love to provide such a site for you, yogert909, but I haven't the slightest bit of medical training and don't research it regularly. When I was younger, I wanted to study medicine, and I still have quite a bit of interest in it, but I don't like dealing with people and packed scheduling much, so I figured I'd enjoy engineering more. Basically, I know enough to know that I don't know much besides the level required to search for more information.

If I spout anything about medicine, it probably came from a documentary on Discovery Health (replaced by OWN now, so no more good medical shows...), and I just looked it up again to make sure it was trustworthy.
If its about nutrition (or food in general), I probably learned about it from 'Good Eats' (best cooking show ever made, since it's got food science and history bits along with the cooking... and belching sock puppets that represent yeast) or because someone asked me a question about it (I have a long time friend who's super health conscious due to past disease, so I learned a lot from her, and so people ask me about things).

Rules for searching things on the Internet:
- Avoid searching popular terms if possible (for instance, I found 'Is a calorie a calorie?' after several changes to my search terms to weed out dieting websites and such, since the low fat vs low carb diet argument has filled petabytes of server hard drives).

- Don't take it for truth if there are no citations (the article talking about salt references multiple studies and even summarizes their procedures and results)

- If it has to do with law (the whole thing about milk from earlier), your government probably has extensive articles about it; they might not always be available online, but I think it's fairly common for that to be the case now. I've never searched for something in US law that wasn't available online.

- The old 'go for .gov, .edu, and .org before touching anything with a .com or .net' thing. It doesn't always hold true, but it's a good rule of thumb, since you're more likely to find the nice qualities listed above.

Science news web series and magazines can be good starting places, if you like watching or reading that kind of content. I'm subscribed to both SciShow and DNews, and occasionally watch a video if it looks interesting.


As for looking like I know something... That's just me stretching the old writing skills a bit and being anal about details; you'd be amazed at how much you can sound like an expert with a few hours of research and decent writing skills (makes me grateful for all of those English papers I hated to write). In addition, knowing how to write with authority can clue you in to when people aren't actually giving good information, since they tend to be poorly cited and/or excessively presumptive.

For example, I was having an argument with someone about the differences between the usual male and female psychology, and to support their claim that absolutely every difference in male and female psychological expression (don't know if that's a word) comes down to social pressures, they cited a blog post that strongly claimed that very thing while citing numerous sources... But all of them had nothing to do with the claim, and a couple were proof against the claim, showing that certain brain structures are sexually dimorphic.
While this was a particularly obvious example (if I could remember the blog post, I'd show it; it was absolute garbage as far as information quality is concerned), the point is that this article was clearly peddling nonsense based on the way it was written and what it cited, regardless of the validity of the argument.
(For the record, my argument was that we have no idea how much the various potential factors play a role, but the affect of hormones and the difference in natural release of these hormones between men and women are fairly well recognized, so it's unscientific to assert that sexual dimorphism plays no part in the difference between the psychology of men and women when there is absolutely no evidence to support it.)

Sorry, this ended up far longer than I intended; hope it helps you some.
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#35
(2016-11-29, 7:32 pm)yogert909 Wrote: You seem to actually know something about this rather than the rest of us pontificators.

I dug into this pretty deep a few years ago because I was getting old and fat which is a bit of problem when you live in central Tokyo. There is a whole movement of evidence based training and evidence based nutrition where guys are giving advise solely based on academic research. It's still filtered and distilled for you but anyone worth following will have the links to the actual research their opinions are based on.

In any case I don't really follow it much anymore but I would start with the Sigma Nutrition Podcast and go from there. He interviews a lot of the researches and has interviews with some of the other authors and bloggers in the space.

Ultimately for me it boiled down to not having any processed foods at home and try to stick to places that use fresh ingredients when eating out. (It's surprisingly easy to do in Tokyo if you avoid big chains.) Trying to optimize it any further didn't interest me much as there isn't enough research to support the more extreme claims.
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#36
(2016-11-29, 10:30 pm)tokyostyle Wrote: Ultimately for me it boiled down to not having any processed foods at home and try to stick to places that use fresh ingredients when eating out.

That's basically what I try to do. I do a good job staying away from processed meats, but I can't always resist sweets. Also, do beer and wine count as processed? Because then I'm definitely not doing a good job.
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#37
(2016-11-29, 11:34 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote: I can't always resist sweets. Also, do beer and wine count as processed?

This boils down to, whats the point of living a long life if you never get to live life!

I know some guys here who are in amazing shape and fairly low body fat and they eat sweets once a week with seemingly no issues. When everything else is perfect I guess a little indulgence isn't too bad. I think guys like Michael Mathews and Tony Horton talk a bit about that too. Gotta occasionally make room for the good stuff!
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